Hake brush
[ Equipment ]

Hake brushes: What are they?

Watercolourists use a hake (pron. har-kay) to help them when painting

Artists use hake brushes in different ways, but I was impressed with how it was used to re-wet areas that were drying and to dampen areas that are next to paint, while watching a video boxed set course by Paul Taggart, Learning to Enjoy Painting  in Watercolour

Paul showed how to use a hake brush in several ways:

  • Wetting the page
  • Wetting the area you are about to paint
  • Removing extra water before it causes problems
  • Blending areas together
hake brushes
Image: Dick Blick Art Supplies, click the image to see more details.

Of course I had to go straight away to the art supplies store, Express Hobbies to buy myself one.

The hake I got from Bob at Express Hobbies was like the largest one in this picture. It has soft goat hair bristles packed thickly together, which makes it a ‘thirsty’ brush which will hold a lot of water.

How to use a hake successfully

  • To stretch the paper before you start to paint
    • Thoroughly wet the brush and starting at the top, brush across the paper moving down at the same time.
  • To wet or re-wet an area you about to glaze or paint
    • Wet the brush thoroughly, then flick it to remove the excess water and gently stroke the surface where you want the wetness
  • As you paint, runs may start if you work at an angle
    • Image: John Lovett Watercolour Workshops - Hake brushDry the brush on a towel by stroking it across the towel, and then stroke across the painting where the run is, and blend it away
  • In the same way, blend an area of sky with a mountain or hill top

While I painted Cudgegong Afternoon, I used a large squirrel hair mop brush but wasn’t able to get it flat enough to do what the hake will do.

Now that I have my own hake brush, I will get more control of the wetness, an issue for me as I paint on the verandah outside the cabin.

I will let you know how I fare with it.


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Jan T

Former quilt artist, now a painter having a great time creating art!
For more than thirty years, I have been teaching (make that enthusing) people about making quilts, and am now retired!

And now I make art every day!

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